“Student Regnum,” the form says and there is a blank box to be filled in next to it. Beneath it says ‘DOB,’ alongside another box to be completed. I am about to begin marking essays by final-year university students and have been sent a blank version of the form the students will submit, with their work.
I recognise the abbreviation for date of birth but ‘regnum’ confuses me. It’s the Latin word for kingdom, and, since these are creative writing students, I wonder if, on admission, each student is assigned a fictional kingdom.
I expect the forms to come back marked ‘Narnia, 5.7.1992’ or ‘Back of Beyond, 8.1.1992.’ I put the mark sheet aside and await the arrival of the final papers. In the intervening days, a friend who works for the BBC tells me about a documentary he’s in the process of making. The issue it deals with is contentious. He’s been told he must refer the whole thing to Ed Poll.
“Do you know Ed Poll?” he asks me... [read more]
Illustration by Joda (@joda_art)